English notes - Sonnet 73 (poem)

I have spent weeks refining down my notes on my poems for the Higher English exams, this document is the result of that. I thought I'd share them as it is often very difficult to get any concise information on poems.

These notes are a scaled down to the point set of notes on the poem: Sonnet 73 by William Shakespeare

What is covered?:
• Close look at stanzas
• What the poem is about
• Meter
• Rhyme scheme
• Structure
• Theme
• Metaphors
• Repetition
• Contrast

How to use this file?:
On the first page the arrows link to the text in the second column which expand on what these lines mean.

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  • Created by: Visser
  • Created on: 08-05-10 18:19
Preview of English notes - Sonnet 73 (poem)

First 371 words of the document:

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see'st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death bed whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourished by.
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
Focus on love, repeated twice: emphasises how remarkable, special and precious it is.
Rhymes: despite the shortness of life being referred to, these feel like strong, positive words with good connotations to end the poem.
Paradox: the love of the person addressed grows stronger as the speakers approaches death.
More important truth: though age and death may be inevitable, love is made all the more remarkable and precious for it.
Can also doubly refer to the act of loving life also: we see the decline of all things with time, and know our decline will come too, that we
must leave life but we still love it and do not disown it simply because it is not permanent.
Caesura emphasises spare remaining leaves: emptiness of old age, there is little left.
Old limbs trembling in cold breezes, old age is cold/harsh.
Pleasant things in life are gone, losing powers of creativity.
Alliteration: s is a soft consonant; reinforces the poet's affection for that which is being lost.
No mention of death.
Sun is setting: the light is going out on his life: the light in someone's young eyes, bright with energy and enthusiasm, as the poet
approaches death this light is fading, just as the sun does.
Fairly rapidly; soon.

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As 'black night' closes in around the remaining light of the day, so too does death close in around the poet.
Connotates death.
Imagery of sealing a tomb.
Soft alliteration repeated, contains the poet's affection for that which is being lost.
Death not explicitly mentioned
Youth is associated with fire: burning brightly, spurring them on.
Glowing embers all that remains: fire is nearly ready to go out ­ death will be here soon.…read more

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No enjambment, no caesura, no alliteration: set apart, pace slowing, more contemplative ­ accepting the harsh reality
of death. Slowed, more peaceful, less grim.
(Couplet): Iambic pace immediately broken, further slows the pace: peaceful
THEME ­ DEATH: Developed through a series of metaphors
Death of the year; Death of the day; Death of the fire. Period of time shortening: sinking further into outright self pity
Quatrain 1/2: metaphors imply cycles, whereas old age is final.…read more


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